Talent agent John Fordham has died aged 75 after a long battle with cancer.
The father of radio broadcaster Ben Fordham was known as a powerhouse celebrity manager who worked with some of Australia’s most prominent personalities.
At 7am on Sunday in the Sacred Heart hospice in Darlinghurst, Sydney, the colourful character lost his long and courageous battle with throat cancer.
John Fordham, a prominent talent agent and father to Ben Fordham (pictured together) has lost his long battle with throat cancer
The powerhouse talent agent had built a reputation as one of the country’s most prolific and represented the likes of Kerri-Anne Kennerley (pictured together) John Laws, Alan Jones and Ian Chappell
As he drifted off, Mr Fordham was listening to his favourite Frank Sinatra song, My Way.
Mr Fordham spent his final days swapping racing tips with Alan Jones, having a beer and a punt – and speaking with sporting greats and entertainment personalities, The Daily Telegraph reported.
He also working for his clients right until the very end.
‘He dictated a really heavy message on Saturday afternoon involving one of his clients in a contract negotiation,’ Ben Fordham said.
‘It was very robust, very stern to an employer and he was determined to get it resolved.’
Rugby League Immortal Andrew Johns and John Laws were among the high-profile celebrities to visit the 75-year-old in his final hours.
In his life Mr Fordham worked with the likes of Johns, Ian Chappell, Mark Taylor, Lisa Wilkinson and Kerri-Anne Kennerley as a talent agent.
Speaking with The Australian Ben Fordham said his father had lived on his own terms until the very end.
‘It’s a weird feeling but we’re not sad, we’re genuinely happy,’ he said.
‘We’re a family who’s never felt afraid of telling each other we love each other, so none of us have that feeling of ”if only”.
‘He chose his own exit, he choreographed the whole thing. I think he decided he wasn’t going to spend eight or nine months in a bed.’
He said the lasting legacy his father will have on him was what he taught him about ‘life, loyalty and having a go’.
Ben Fordham said the lasting legacy his father will have had on him was teaching him the true value of ‘life, loyalty and having a go’ (Mr Fordham pictured with his grandson Freddy)
Alan Jones also spoke highly of Mr Fordham, heaping praise on a man he described as ‘loyal’ and ‘generous’.
‘It was his loyalty and generosity that stood out to me. He was the most amazing storyteller, had a wonderful sense of humour and was a lot of fun,’ he said.
Mr Fordham was due to be appointed to the Order of Australia (AM) next year, but when news of his terminal diagnosis was revealed, some power players stood up.
The Governor-General agreed to move the appointment up earlier but sadly Mr Fordham lost his battle before the day.
But Ben informed his father of the news and got a squeeze of the hand as a sign of acceptance from his father before he died.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and police commissioner Mick Fuller will attend a private ceremony on Monday to award the honour posthumously.
On Thursday Ben Fordham revealed doctors had told his father his battle with the disease ‘was not going to be continuing’.
As well as representing entertainment personalities Mr Fordham also built a reputation as a gifted sports agent and represented rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns (pictured left and right, with Matty Johns centre as his alter ego Reg Reagan)
‘I’ve spent the day with him today and I’ve actually made the decision late yesterday I’ll be wrapping up the radio show either at the end of today or tomorrow and that will be it for the year,’ Fordham said.
‘It (the cancer) has been around for a few years. He’s had a couple of bouts with it. He beat it and then it came back and then recently it came back again.’
The presenter interviewed his father on Sky News – discussing his career in the media as well as his cancer.
Ben explained to viewers that John first suspected he had cancer during a family holiday in 2017.
‘I remember my sister Sarah saying, ‘Oh what’s on your neck?’ and you told her, ‘Oh it’s a strained muscle or something’,’ Ben said.
The lump on John’s neck though turned out to be something more serious.
‘That was a shock, no one wants to get that news,’ John said of the initial diagnosis.
Mr Fordham also leaves behind a legacy of charity after establishing the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation.
He launched the foundation after being diagnosed with aggressive cancer.
‘(John) was inspired to learn more about Head and Neck cancer and what could be done to ensure others did not suffer from the dreadful complications associated with this disease,’ the foundation states.
After being diagnosed Mr Fordham (pictured with son Ben) established the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation to ensure others didn’t suffer the dreadful complications of the cancer